Wasatch Cache National Forest
In partnership with: Utah State Parks and Recreation, The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center, Utah Department of Emergency Services and Homeland Security and Salt Lake County.


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Avalanche advisory

Thursday, February 17, 2005
Good morning, this is Evelyn Lees with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Thursday, February 17th 2005, and its 7:30 in the morning.

Tonight is the last night to see the Banff Film Festival at 7 pm, at Kingsbury Hall, a fund raiser hosted by our partner The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center.  For more information call 801/581-8516 or go to www.banffmountainfestivals.ca.

The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center has about 6 openings left in their 3-day avalanche class this weekend, the 19-21st.  Registration is at Black Diamond retail, call 278-0233.

Current Conditions:
A delightful day is dawning in the mountains, with mostly clear skies, very light winds, and temperatures in the mid teens.  Excellent powder remains on the shady slopes, with the crusts on the sunny slopes varying from place to place depending on how much sun the slope has received.

Avalanche Conditions:
There was a skier triggered slide yesterday on Gobblers Knob, on a northwest facing slope at 9800’.  It was about 100’ wide, a foot deep, and long running.  It occurred mid afternoon, shortly after the sun had intensified, and heating was likely a factor.  Today, with mostly sunny skies and warming temperatures in the forecast, the danger of wet sluffs and slabs will increase as the snow heats up.  This will first occur on east and southeast facing slopes, then continue its way around the compass all the way to northwest.  With the sun much higher in the sky, even “shady” slopes will be affected.  

There were also several reports of slope cuts releasing sluffs and shallow soft slabs in the snow from the last storm.  These were mostly manageable, but some were large enough to take you for a ride.  And finally, it may still be possible to trigger a deeper slab avalanche in isolated places.  Explosive control work in the Cottonwoods and Provo area mountains are continuing to release a few larger slides on north through southeast facing slopes.  Slopes that have slid one or more times this year are additionally suspect.  In the Ogden and Provo area mountains, the faceted weak layers are also a problem at unusually low elevations. 

Bottom Line (Salt Lake, Park City, Provo, and Ogden mountains):
he avalanche danger is MODERATE on slopes steeper than about 35 degrees, with both loose sluff and slab avalanches possible.  The danger of wet sluffs and slabs will increase significantly throughout the day.  On slopes less steep than about 35 degrees, the avalanche danger is generally LOW.

Mountain Weather:
High pressure will bring dry and warm weather to the Wasatch mountains today.  Skies will be mostly sunny, with highs reaching into the mid 20’s at 10,000’ and the mid 30’s at 8,000’.  The southwesterly winds will be light, less than 10 mph.  After a clear, calm night, the next Pacific storm system will start to affect northern Utah by late Friday, with increasingly strong southwesterly winds and periods of snow Friday night through the weekend. 


Wasatch Powderbird did not fly yesterday, and today they will have two ships in Mineral, Cardiff, Days, Silver, Mill Creek, Grizzly and American Fork.

A huge thanks to everyone who is sending in observations!  So please calling us at 524-5304 or 1-800-662-4140, or e-mail us at [email protected].  Fax is 524-6301.

UDOT COTTONWOOD CANYONS HOTLINE FOR ROAD CLOSURE INFORMATION: 975-4838.  Early birds can catch our early morning report at 6am by calling 364-1591.

The information in this advisory is from the U.S. Forest Service, which is solely responsible for its content.  This advisory describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur.

Brett Kobernik will update this advisory by 7:30 on Friday morning.
Thanks for calling.

For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: